As protests against police brutality have raged across the United States, President Donald Trump has opted to stoke the chaos. Rather than engaging with the substance of the largely peaceful demonstrators’ complaints about rampant police brutality, he has threatened the protesters over and over to the point that on Monday, he threatened to send the active-duty military out into the streets of America, and soldiers were seemingly already dispatched in D.C. On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called Trump out for his spectacle of self-obsession amidst the protests.
Pelosi: "We would hope that the President of the United States would follow the lead of so many other presidents before him, to be a healer in chief, and not a fanner of the flame"
— Catie Edmondson (@CatieEdmondson) June 2, 2020
On Monday, cops attacked completely peaceful, completely legal protesters who had gathered in Lafayette Square outside the White House; they were violently clearing people from the scene just so that the president could walk to St. Johns Church without people around. At the church, he awkwardly held up a Bible for a photo op and then went back to the White House.
Pelosi asked about Trump’s Bible photo op last night. She goes and grabs her own bible and is now reading from it. pic.twitter.com/F64v4JFBH6
— Heather Caygle (@heatherscope) June 2, 2020
During her own Tuesday remarks, Pelosi — who has previously established her commitment to religious morals, unlike Trump — also held a Bible, this time with none of the president’s awkwardness. She said:
‘It’s long overdue time for us to make some of that change that people were calling out for… Let’s focus on a time to heal. We have had, as a role of the president of the United States, the role of commander-in-chief, a person who has a responsibility to heal… President Obama said after the murder of Eric Garner: Right now, unfortunately, we are seeing too many instances where people just do not have confidence that folks are being treated fairly… It is incumbent upon all of us as Americans, regardless of race, religion, region, or faith, that we recognize that this is an American problem.’
NEW: Speaker Nancy Pelosi says a president of the United States “has the responsibility to heal,” quoting former President. George H. W. Bush following the Rodney King riots and Former President Barack Obama’s following the killing of Eric Garner. https://t.co/cVIWqSfzSR pic.twitter.com/GlM4TXitYC
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) June 2, 2020
During her remarks, unlike Trump, Pelosi also quoted the Bible — sharing thoughts from the book of Ecclesiastes in particular — and she also quoted then-President George H.W. Bush’s call for police officers to be held to the standards of the law in the aftermath of outrage over the police assault on Rodney King in 1991.
Pelosi called out Trump directly, sharing:
‘We would hope that the president of the United States would follow the lead of so many other presidents before him to be a healer-in-chief, and not a fanner of the flame.’
"We would hope that the President of the United States would follow the lead of so many other presidents before him to be a healer in chief and not a fanner of the flame."-Speaker Pelosi following UIGHUR Act enrollment ceremony. https://t.co/2jd6zuAWuq
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) June 2, 2020
Unfortunately, fanning the flame is exactly what Trump has done. For example, in complete ignorance of the many peaceful protesters who’ve turned out in NYC and elsewhere, Trump tweeted on early Tuesday:
‘Yesterday was a bad day for the Cuomo Brothers. New York was lost to the looters, thugs, Radical Left, and all others forms of Lowlife & Scum. The Governor refuses to accept my offer of a dominating National Guard. NYC was ripped to pieces. Likewise, Fredo’s ratings are down 50%!’
Yesterday was a bad day for the Cuomo Brothers. New York was lost to the looters, thugs, Radical Left, and all others forms of Lowlife & Scum. The Governor refuses to accept my offer of a dominating National Guard. NYC was ripped to pieces. Likewise, Fredo’s ratings are down 50%!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 2, 2020
Trump insists on trying to make the situation into some kind of apocalyptic culture war, as this instance is not the first time in which he has referred to demonstrators as supposedly “Radical Left” individuals. Yet, that’s not an accurate description for the large numbers of Americans who’ve turned out around the country and faced rampant brutalization by police.
Imagine if this were China or Cuba how we’d be covering it. https://t.co/79bUj4yhIS
— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) June 2, 2020